MANILA, Philippines – The Talk ’N Text Tropang Texters moved one win closer to attaining the PBA Commissioner’s Cup title following a 103-94 victory over the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in game five of the finals on Friday, April 24, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
It was an impressive, well-balanced performance out of Talk ’N Text, who had to rally from an early 11-point deficit in the first quarter. Ranidel De Ocampo was on fire once again, finishing with 27 points and grabbing 6 rebounds. Jayson Castro registered 15 points and dished out 9 assists, while import Ivan Johnson also had 27 points in addition to 6 boards.
“Hindi pa tapos. Mabuti nanalo, pero hindi pa tapos. Alam natin na apat kailangan manalo,” A cautious Talk ’N Text head coach Jong Uichico said after the game.
(It’s not yet over. It’s good we won, but it’s not yet over. We all know we have to win four games.)
“They’ll fight tooth and nail to win on Sunday,” he said about Rain or Shine, who was led by Wayne Chism’s 25 points and 17 rebounds. “Dapat ganon rin attitude namin.”
(Our attitude has to be the same.)
Paul Lee had 19 points and 4 rebounds, while Ryan Arana came off the bench and provided 10 points in 16 minutes. No other Elasto Painter scored in double-figures, which clearly hurt the team as Jeff Chan missed his second straight contest.
Rain or Shine entered game five as the lone team in the Commissioner’s Cup to not lose back-to-back games, and it looked like they were on pace for an easy win in the early goings. Lee already had 9 points by the first quarter, sparking a 22-11 advantage for his team.
Talk ’N Text trimmed the deficit to two by the end of the period, and took over the contest in the second quarter when Lee rested on the bench. A 6-0 run by Johnson and De Ocampo extended a five-point Tropang Texters lead to 11, putting the pressure on their opponents.
Rain or Shine couldn’t counter as they went scoreless the rest of the first half, paving the way for Talk ’N Text to build their cushion up to 56-42.
The Tropang Texters stayed in control with timely defensive stops and baskets for the next two quarters until a pair of free throws and layup by Lee trimmed their lead to five, 99-94, with 1:09 to go in the game.
After a time-out, rookie Kevin Alas, who finished with 7 points, hit a critical floater to give his team breathing room. After Chris Tiu missed a 3-ball, Johnson put the final nail in the coffin with a rim-rattling dunk.
“Of course fourth quarter medyo nakahabol sila. Mabuti medyo may lead kami. They made that run; kulang lang nang oras,” said Uichico, who also says that his team needs to play “with a sense of urgency” in game six on Sunday, April 26.
(In the fourth quarter, they caught up. It’s good we had a lead. They just ran out of time.)
Rain or Shine did a good job passing the ball by finishing with 17 assists, but 16 turnovers led to as many points for the Tropang Texters. In comparison, Talk ’N Text had 20 dimes but turned the ball over just 7 times, leading to only 2 points off turnovers for the Elasto Painters.
Talk N Text (103) — De Ocampo 27, Johnson 27, Castro 15, Fonacier 12, Carey 7, Alas 7, Aban 4, Washington 2, Rosser 2, Wiliams 0
Rain or Shine (94) — Chism 25, Lee 19, Arana 10, Norwood 9, Teng 6, Jericho Cruz 6, Belga 6, Jrvy Cruz 4, Almazan 4, Uyloan 0, Ibanez 0
Quarters: 27-29; 56-42; 78-64; 103-94
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